“Beyond the Base: Negotiating Your Total Package”: Aliza Carpio, Director of Product and Tech Evangelist at Autodesk (Video + Transcript)

March 19, 2023

Aliza Carpio (Director, Product and Tech Evangelist at Autodesk) shares tips for you to consider beyond the base salary, from future facing RSUs and PSUs, to extra incentives like a sign-on bonus or negotiating your job description or title.


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Angie Chang: We have Aliza Carpio, who is a director of product and tech evangelist at Autodesk. Prior to Autodesk, she was a tech evangelist at Intuit. She’ll be talking to us, to us today about negotiating your job offer beyond the base. Welcome, Aliza.

Aliza Carpio: Thank you Angie. Hello everyone. I’m Aliza and I am from Autodesk and in case you don’t know who Autodesk is… Autodesk is a leader in design and make software. Today, I’m gonna be talking about “beyond the base” – and here’s what we’ll cover, and I’m just gonna flash this up here, but this is really where I wanna start. This is huge.

Aliza Carpio: I’m gonna let y’all know a bit of secret, or maybe it’s not, but the reason why I feel passionate about this topic is because I will say that I’m someone in the very beginning of my career, and even not so beginning of my career, I did not negotiate because I really wanted that role, and I really didn’t want to be passed for it or, or like pushed aside for that role. And this percentage, 32%-60%, depending on where you are reading or you know what podcast you’re listening to, 32%-60% of women today will not negotiate anything in terms of their offer that they get from a company. And the reasons span from just like me, I didn’t, where women say, I don’t wanna get passed over for this job. I really want this job, or I really need this job.

Aliza Carpio: But what I found interesting also in this percentage is that 30%-60% of women who don’t negotiate anything in their package in their compensation package, would prefer to leave the company after two years being in the company. So when do you actually start thinking about this? When you’re thinking about, you know, hey, I’m gonna, you know, try out for this role and I’m submitting my resume and I’m about to get a phone call from a recruiter, you should really be thinking about your compensation package prior to that first encounter.

Aliza Carpio: You really wanna think about, how do I think about this? And it really starts with understanding you. And so, what does that mean? You’re like, oh god, that’s like such a big term. It really comes down to what’s important to you. And these are two questions that I’ve learned through the years from others who have guided me through negotiation.

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Aliza Carpio: I used to make pros and cons lists when I’m trying out for a new role, and I realized, I started seeing that the cons list was long – everything from, “I don’t know if I should leave because I really know my manager. We get along” – all the way to like, “I really know my team and the tech stack in my group, I feel like really comfortable and I’m really impactful there”. But let’s switch the question. Instead of doing pros and cons, ask yourself two questions.

Aliza Carpio: Make a list under each. What are your non-negotiables? Your must haves? And then what are your nice-to-haves? Which are icing on the cake? They’re not deal breakers, but man, that would sweeten the deal. And an option that you can consider once you actually create the list is to narrow or not, but then share this list with someone that you trust that can give you honest feedback.

Aliza Carpio: I’m gonna actually share a recent story with a friend last year. She talked to me, she’s a single mom, and she was planning to leave her company for another company. She created a pros and cons list and she’s like, can you help me figure out what’s right for me? And what I did with her on Zoom was I asked her what were her non-negotiables? She was a single mom. She unfortunately has an ex that wasn’t contributing to the income in the family. And so she has a son that she wanted to start planning for for college.

Aliza Carpio: And when I asked her what was her most important, she said one was a role that was gonna be elevated to that next level that would then have higher pay. And then two, you know, being able to just learn something new. And for her, that next role actually was – those two things were non-negotiable. And so it became clear to her that going to that other company was actually the right call. After you understand what’s important to you, take that moment, right? Hey, you know, I know my want or two or even three things that are my must-haves and a couple things in my nice to haves?

Aliza Carpio: Take this moment to own your competence and really know that you are worth it. And I’m taking this quote from Dr. Deepika Chopra, if you haven’t heard of her, she is doctor of optimism and I love that. I got a chance to recently learn from her. This is also going to be the time when I’m gonna ask you, like, again, taking a page from the book “Brave, Not Perfect” to have a a bit of courage to really own the moment, really understand what it is that you really wanna see for yourself or have for yourself, and really, what we learned in various studies or even in the book “Brave, Not Perfect” is that we regret what we don’t do. And so I hope that you don’t regret what you don’t do. And then, lastly, is to shift your mindset to really thinking about the total package.

Aliza Carpio: This is where my title comes in of “beyond the base”. Normally whether you are talking to someone in a startup or enterprise or mid-to-large size company, you are normally presented in tech with something that looks like this – your base salary, there might be a bonus structure, and then you may or may not get restricted stock units or performance stocks.

Aliza Carpio: Many times when you are thinking about where do I negotiate, a lot of us just focus on base salary and traditionally we focus on that and we stop there. What we should really think about is breaking it down and taking those same elements of base salary, bonus, RSUs, and PSUs – and then I also added the extra incentive. Let’s break it down.

negotiating your total package beyond the base salary aliza carpio

Aliza Carpio: Your base salary and your bonus tends to be the least flexible. I’m not saying that they are a hundred percent not negotiable, I’m just saying it’s the least flexible base. Salaries many times are constrained by the current budget of that company. Bonuses many times are set by the job band, so whatever your job is, there’s a band for it, and there’s usually like a specific percentage, although I have heard of people like negotiate that as well so definitely something to consider here. Again, I’m not saying that you cannot negotiate, I’m just saying that that’s your least flexible.

Aliza Carpio: Your restricted stock units and performance stock units – this is actually future facing. It is where the company believes, let’s invest in this person, we believe that this person can really make an impact today and tomorrow. This is actually where I would say the greatest flexibility is cuz this is about future dollars and future investment in you and in the company.

Aliza Carpio: And then the last is extra incentive incentives. Now this is a mixed bag. Some are gonna have some flexibility while others are gonna be fixed. Some things to consider here – some companies do provide a sign-on bonus which can be paid over the course of a year or as one time. Sometimes they are paid as part of your first paycheck, it all depends on the company. And in the last thing that I put in here, and again, there’s many types of incentives, is your relocation package, for some companies this is a set amount like you get $3,000 or you can negotiate because you’ve got a family or ou’ve just maybe have more stuff than they, than they had allocated in terms of those fees. I’m just gonna just pause here for a sec.

Aliza Carpio: Again, this, this is all negotiable. The left shows you’re least flexible because they’re constrained by budget or they’re set by job band. The middle part tends to have the most flexibility, and then your extra incentives is just a mixed bag. But in thinking about all that, there’s also some of these, and these I learned from many colleagues and others who’ve guided me through the process of negotiation.

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Aliza Carpio: The first is, many companies are doing this today, but not everyone is asks for is your birthday, or a significant day ,off. Maybe there’s something that is really significant to you, your family, or your beliefs. And ask for that without that impacting your paid time.

Aliza Carpio: On balance, modified schedule is something that is so negotiable. You might be going to school part-time caring for an aging parent, or you might have young kids or what have you – asking for ma that modified schedule. I do know quite a few people that tend to end their day around 2:00 PM or 3:00 PM because they’re either going to school or what have you or, caring for their kids and then they pick things back up in the evening or early the following day.

Aliza Carpio: I do know of folks – the next bullet – is where they actually ask for mental health time off day or some sort of a health rejuvenation day that doesn’t impact their sick leave. If you are someone that is always in front of the audience or camera, like if you’re in PR or have a comms role, I do know of people who have gotten this and continuously ask for a clothing budget.

Aliza Carpio: There are many instances when people can bring their therapy pet to work. It is something that you can definitely consider.

Aliza Carpio: The next two are stipends and there are many companies that provide this already, but if your company does not, ask for getting your home office set up like a stipend for that, and then a monthly stipend for mobile and Internet fees.

Aliza Carpio: And then finally, if you know this role and you’re coming in with subject matter expertise in that role and you have a good rapport with the hiring manager, you might wanna consider modifying aspects of the job description or really having conversations about, hey, we might be able to really think about this in this way. Again, it’s open for conversation. So I’m gonna just flash this up for a sec just to give you all some ideas of what other folks that I know of have negotiated.

Aliza Carpio: And finally something that I just wanna make sure that y’all know, whether you’re looking at, I’m gonna negotiate, you know, in the least flexible potential incentives or requests, all of this is really good for your soul. I recently gave feedback to someone that was like,” I’m really happy with everything, Aliza, I’m just gonna take it.” And I’m like, “You know what? Just ask for $5,000 more. Even if you don’t care about anything else, just ask for $5,000 more on your base or ask for a few more. You know, RSUs. Just do it because it’s really just good for your soul and owning that competence”.

Aliza Carpio: And before I actually end and share my “let’s connect” slide. I leave you with this. I’m actually gonna be checking out Miss Jude cause I can’t say her name. Miss Jude’s book, but I love this quote – “to remind yourself of your worth until it settles so deep in your soul it cannot be unearthed” and really owning your competence as I had said, and owning your worth. That’s really what negotiation is about. And I will, lemme just get to my last slide. I’d love for us to connect. I recently have not been going into Twitter much, so you’ll see that I do have a master on account through hack D. I just started that. Please do connect with me there or on LinkedIn and would love for you to check out Autodesk careers. We do also have a virtual career booth, so please do check us out. My website is creativelybrave.me and I believe we put the link to the slides also on on the chat.

Aliza Carpio: And with that said, let me go ahead and escape cause I can’t see you all if I am on full thing and see if anyone has any questions on chat. Thank you all for like, I just love like girl geek because y’all like are always so so supportive of a community. Let’s see. So encouraging. Any questions out there… and the base annual bonuses set. Yes, thank you Lisa for that. And thanks folks for sharing some tips here. I really oh and thanks Nick for for those shoes in my pick. They are from, in case y’all are shoe buffs. I am a big fan of <laugh> of the office of Angela Scott. I absolutely love her. If y’all like, check out my LinkedIn, something that I do on the side is I am a supporter of women-led small businesses.

Aliza Carpio: I do provide pro bono help for micro businesses led by women or owned by women so please do reach out if you would like some help. And let’s see, is there anything else? What do you, what to do when you’re told the offer is not negotiable? I think it’s about so thank you for asking that, Stephanie.

Aliza Carpio: I think when you say the offer is not negotiable, ask a clarifying question and say, “Hey, could you break down for me? Could you unpack for me what is actually not negotiable?” And so because of what I’ve found is, sometimes when folks say, that the thing that is not negotiable is the salary and bonus, but there’s other things that could be negotiable. Just ask that clarifying question. I have not been in a situation <laugh> when when I’ve been told that, but at the same time, I’m sure there are those opportunities, but I would say ask that clarifying question.

Aliza Carpio: Oh, and Alexandra said, how do you negotiate the job description? Yes, I actually recently did that when I joined Autodesk, there was a line in there about helping with the InnerSource movement at Autodesk, and what I negotiated was it was on the same kind of hierarchy as the evangelism work, and so I actually asked my hiring manager in terms of the hierarchy of how this is written, it all looks like it’s all at the same level, but yet I know one is its own full-time job, and I negotiated it to be the secondary thing versus the primary thing. I’m sure there’s others that have done something similar.

Aliza Carpio: “How to negotiate with your manager when you don’t want to jeopardize your working relationship? How to phrase it when it can be uncomfortable?”

Aliza Carpio: Oh my gosh, I feel like I need Lisa Debo who’s actually on here from Autodesk to, to share that. You know I have not negotiated anything internally. I’ve only negotiated when I join a company as an external candidate. But if folks, if there’s other things that you, that others can answer, that would be great. Some other questions here is what to do when you’re told the off. .. Okay.

Aliza Carpio: So can you share the typical rhythm of back and forth of a typical negotiation? Yes. To be honest now, what I love about California or maybe others states is that you will see what the base salary range is, so that already gives you you know, some, some information around, you know, what the base salary is, but normally this is from my experience, and please don’t take it as this is everyone’s experience, but what I normally get is a conversation with the recruiter across all of this stuff.

Aliza Carpio: They usually say, take your time. They normally, at least, I’ve had anywhere from three days to over a week to really come back to them. That’s usually that, and I did that at Autodesk more recently cuz I’ve been there, it’ll be a year and six months soon for me, but I went, came back and really, to be honest, I negotiated on the future facing stuff and they came back to me the following day and it was like, basically it was two times. It was pretty good.

Aliza Carpio: Another one from Sarita is, do you think employees that have been laid off are taken as desperate, likely to get low-balled? No, I do not. I actually have quite a few colleagues and my heart goes out to them from both Meta and and Twitter, and one, they’ve all landed on better roles with higher paying roles than where they were.

Aliza Carpio: So please try to like put that in the back of your mind. You are not seen as desperate. In fact, I would say you are gonna be seen as wow, look at all that you again, it’s about owning the competence. Look at all the things you’ve, you’ve done.

Aliza Carpio: What’s your advice for people transitioning into tech? People don’t get low-balled. You know what? Nothing that you do, and I got this from one of the other speakers -Nothing that you’ve done in the past, by the way, including the amazing talk by the Autodesk, one of the Autodesk speakers yesterday. Dr. Tonya Custis, nothing that you’ve done in the past should go against not having tech experience. It all connects. So please own that. I think I’m at time. Am I at time?

Angie Chang: Yes. Thank you Alisa. That was excellent. And thank you so much for sharing your slides in advance. I know I’ve already bookmarked them and shared them in the chat and people will be tweeting it and posting on Linkedin. Thank you so much for sharing transparently on how to go beyond the base!

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